Impacts from aquaculture facilities on intertidal ecosystems using quadrant surveys and antibiotic tracers
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[author abstract] Marine ecosystems are vulnerable to anthropogenic influences due to increased stresses from climate change and habitat destruction. Fish farming and other aquaculture practices have potential impacts on natural marine ecosystems. I examined the effects of fish farms and oyster farms on the health of rocky intertidal communities by quantifying shifts in species richness, biodiversity, and percent coverage near the aquaculture sites in comparison to more natural settings. This research took place in Barkley Sound Vancouver, Canada between January 26th and February 2nd 2013. I hypothesized that impacts of aquaculture, shown by the presence of antibiotics used by them, would decrease biodiversity and species richness in rocky intertidal communities. Observed were impacts from aquaculture sites that caused reduction of biodiversity. The reduction in biodiversity was caused by three different influences. The most intense influence was the introduction of Pacific Oysters to intertidal areas near oyster farms that out competed natural organisms for space.